MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie -- Nature's Inspiration Movie: The photographs in this short video are from award-winning photographer, Ken Jenkins, and they are breathtaking. However, this video is much more than beautiful photographs! Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude. Absolute must watch for nature lovers.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Caution -- Graphic Content

This is supposed to be a gardening-related blog, showing only the beauty and bounty of nature and spirit of lives, with seeds maturing into seedlings and fruit/vegetable bearing plants. However, I have to break away from garden-blogging and write about the movie Earthling because otherwise I was going to hold myself a criminal. How can I enjoy gardening and nature if I ignored the suffering and abuse of animals - mammals and birds - who are an integral part of nature. 

EARTHLINGS is a feature length documentary about humanity’s absolute dependence on animals (for pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research) but also illustrates our complete disrespect for these so-called “non-human providers. The movie shows how animals have their tails, claws, beaks cut-off without any anesthesia or pain-killers; castration are done, again, without any anesthesia or pain-killers; farm and animals clubbed to death; animals tortured for scientific experiments. But, the most horrible was animals skinned alive (yes, alive without any anesthesia or pain-killer) for their furs - oh the expression in the eyes of those animals!!  - dear God, how can we be so cruel and horrible??????

Leo Tolstoy wrote that there will be battlefields as long as there are slaughterhouses. Why battlefields? There will be rapists, murderers, serial-killers, psychopaths as long as there are these industrial-styles, for-profit slaughterhouses who have no regard for animals, human-health, environment or nature; the behavior of the workers of the slaughterhouses, caught in camera, with their cursing and swearing and abusing of animals prove that. 

Please watch the following movie no matter how much sick you might feel to your stomach. As an human-animal, we need to learn and watch how we treat our other fellow animals, and then make conscious decision and choice. No one is telling us  to become vegan or vegetarian, but at least we can and should make all the effort to buy only those animal meat and products where the animals did not suffer and did not die horrible deaths. If one is true to her/his conscience, believes that s/he is just an inhabitant of this universe -- sharing all the goodies and bounties and comforts that the universe provides to her/him, believes in climate, environment, nature and universe, then this is a must watch film. We can never make the earth get rid off all her problems unless we learn to respect nature and animals. The whole movie can be watched here:

In case anything thinks that Earthling is a movie full of lies and made by some vegans, then here was this recent news article (with videos and pictures to prove the truth) about "Nine arrested for animal cruelty at Wyoming pig farm where workers were caught on video brutally punching sows and flipping piglets in the air":

So, I hope 2013 bring changes which will prevent animal abuse, raise awareness among us about such animal abuse and instill among us love and respect for animals. May 2013 bring improvement of conditions in the lives of farm-animals, ban on animal-furs and stop on cruel scientific experiments on them. 

I don't know what type of butterfly this was, but I found her/him in our greenhouse in July. S/he was taking shelter there from the heavy rainfall outside.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to all of you :-). 

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Prayer and Thoughts...

I dedicate this post to all the children that lost their lives today in Newport, Connecticut, due to some mindless, deranged killer. I have chosen this flower picture to represent them - the children were yet to blossom just like the tulips in the picture. I can feel the pain of their parents and how devastated they must all be feeling now because I also lost my mother tragically this year in August. My mother was perfectly fit and healthy with all sorts of dreams and aspirations even at the age of 67. She went for a simple knee operation in one of the most reputed hospital, located near E.M. Bypass, in Calcutta. But, due to all the doctors' negligence, ignorance, callous, and indifferent attitude there, she lost her life after enduring unbearable pain and suffering. That is why I have been away from this blogging world. But, today's tragedy surpasses all other tragedies and pains - little kids who went to that school today, families and parents who dropped them,  all must have had many plans and ideas about the upcoming afternoon, weekend and Christmas; now all those ideas have vaporized instantly in thin air, replaced by what we all can never apprehend unless we have been in their shoes. So, all my thoughts and prayer for them.....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Garden Abundance

This year (2012) everything is coming early; flowers that are supposed to bloom in August-September are blooming now. The vegetable garden is also producing an abundant supply. This is true for most gardens in the north-east. Luckily drought has not yet touched us as it has done, unfortunately, in large parts of the US. I hope all of my garden-friends' gardens are doing well.

Our garden has also started producing a lot. There is an over-abundant supply of tomatoes; well, no wonder since I have grown about eleven tomato plants from seed :-). I have started looking into all sorts of tomato related recipes - tomato chutney, tomato jam, tomato pickle, frozen tomato, tomato paste, and so on - because once the tomatoes start becoming ripe, the house will be overflowing with them. There are also lots of garlic, onion, beans, cucumber, pumpkin, cabbage; gourd plants are flowering profusely; so are all the ridge-gourds, squash plants; okra and broccoli plants are growing strong day by day. All the various pepper plants are fruiting. The jerusalem artichoke plants are vigorously growing. Only, I have no idea about the potato plants. I don't think I will have much success with them. I am feeling especially proud because this year, for the first time, I have grown everything from seeds.

Now and then, I am going to the garden and picking up fresh things for salad. Yesterday I picked some beans, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, mint and lemon-balm, as you see in the bowl. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hopefully I am back

Dear Blog and My Blog-Friends,

I hope everybody is doing fine. I have been away from my blog and all your blogs for so long because of my health. I have been really, really sick but now I am hopefully back. Lots of things are happening in my garden now - abundance of strawberries, green leafy vegetables and peas. I will start posting about them and their photos soon. Here are some pictures of flowers that were growing in our garden in March. Every year, they usually flower in late April/early May, but this year they came early as we didn't have a proper winter. How many of the following flowers can you name :-)? I can only name a few though they are growing in my garden!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Busy Garden

I always remember Leisure by William Henry Davis, especially at this time of the year
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

But, I was determined to take some time out today, update my blog and find what my busy garden is up to. All sorts of bees, butterflies, wasps, flowers, buds, new leaves are out. I tried to capture whatever I could but again time and energy constrained me to capture some poor shots. Hope you don't mind. How busy is your garden? So, here are some shots that were taken today and on March 19.

A snake on our driveway, going from our garden to my neighbor's garden. I don't know what these plants are, but they are indeed pretty; some crocuses.

More purple crocuses; some pretty wild-flowers, don't know what they are. Do you know? White Daffodil

Yellow Daffodil; a sea of daffodil; the Persian Lilac tree is full of new growth and buds.

Phlox; more wild flowers; dandelion - I love them for their vibrant yellow color and they are the first flower to appear in spring.

Being a veggie-grower, the sets of pictures will not be complete without some vegetable-plant photos :-). Here they are:

A line of pea-babies; potato plant; pak-choi

Friday, March 16, 2012

Heartbreak and A Dilemma

All my Broccoli, Cabbage and Cauliflower seedlings have died. There were four or five of them each. I will blame it on the funky weather. They were thriving and growing inside. The weather was fantastic with temperatures reaching 50's and 60's; so, I planted them outside and the temperature dropped to 26 degree F. GRRRRRRRRREAT!!! I became so depressed, as you can see, that I even stopped blogging. But every cloud has a silver lining. In midst of all these tragedies, I found that silver lining inside my green-house which at once lifted me out of my misery. Swiss-Chard, Broccoli, Garlic, Beet, Spinach, Celery, Fenugreek, Mustard, Lettuce and Radish are thriving, almost becoming a mini-jungle. And, there lies my dilemma. They are growing so beautifully with full of life and vigor and glossy green leaves that I don't have the heart to eat them. What to do?

Red globular radish on the left; icicle (the big white carrot-looking type) radish on the right. Can you see a red globe of radish poking her head from the ground?

Spinach, Celery and Beet from left to right respectively. I read everywhere that certain plants cannot be transplanted; spinach, radish and beet apparently are those types of plants. But I have had no problems, so far, in transplanting them. I grew them in small plastic growing-pots and then transplanted them.

A bed of Swiss-Chard with some lettuce thrown in the middle on the left; a small bed of garlic on the right. The garlic bed has lots of weeds as you can see. I do not know what they are. They look very pretty and dainty. I let them grow. I have read that these types of ground-hugging weeds can be beneficial; they are acting as live mulch; their roots are protecting the soil and soil structure; also their roots can harbor good microbes and the plants can also add important chemical elements to the ground.

Now, I have to tell you a story, a story that teaches us to give everything a second chance and never give up. I bought two broccoli plants last spring (2011). As they started putting up broccoli head, someone came and ate them. That "someone" not only ate the tiny broccoli heads but also the plants, stems and leaves included. Nothing of the two plants were left except a shriveled leaf-less, brownish mid-stem. You can see that brownish (or off-white) stem in the third picture. I left them those stems in the ground as I do not follow the Bible of most gardeners - picking everything up and cleaning, tidying up the ground. One of those stems rot and died; the other one slowly has become the plant that you are seeing in the picture. It has not only become lush and green but it is even producing lots of heads. A picture of a head is as above, but many more developing on the sides. It is a wonder how that almost dead stem has become this plant. Gardening is not only filling me with awe but it is teaching me all sorts of valuable lessons: patience, without it one simply cannot do gardening - sow a seed and wait for two months for it to emerge out of the ground; discipline to note everything, write down all details and visit the garden every day; dedication - water and feed the plants, take care of the seedlings as you would take care of your babies and old parents; never give up - not only the broccoli plant but many plants, that I have, never gave up; they came back from the verge of death; give everything/everybody a second chance - those plants that were dying or looked like as if they were dying, I didn't pull them out of the ground; I left them there (not because I at that time decided to give them a second chance but as I mentioned before I don't clean up my garden) and they came back from death to amaze me, and I learned my lesson.

Fenugreek...fenugreek...everywhere...and I can't pull them and eat. The dilemma I was talking about. Fenugreek plants are extremely beneficial to health. It is one of the medicinal herb, that was used not only by the ancient Indian and Greek civilization, but it is being still used today by Pharmaceutical companies (to make medicine) and Ayurvedics. Fenugreek-seeds are used as spices; they are available in any Indian Grocery Stores here in the US; they are also available in many supermarkets. The seeds seem to retain potency to germinate even after 5-6 years. I had some old seeds; I scattered them around and they grew. They have an extremely fast germination and growing rate; they germinate overnight and start growing like wild fire. The baby-leaves can be eaten raw in salad; the matured plants can be sauteed lightly with some garlic; the leaves can be dried and used as herb/spice (kasuri-meethi, an important ingredient in many Indian cooking is created by drying the leaves). Can you locate the lettuce plants :-)?

Mustard greens. Mustard seeds are readily available in any Indian stores as they are an important spice in Indian cooking. Again, they are also available in many of the US Supermarkets. Another extremely easy plant to grow. Scatter the seeds (as if you are feeding pigeons); you do not have to cover them up or water them; they will germinate within couple of days. I have read somewhere that mustard plants are used to do environmental cleaning as these plants can absorb all the poisonous chemicals from the ground, like mercury, lead, arsenic, poisonous pesticide, insecticide, etc, and still survive. In that case, the whole plant, stem and leaf included, will be saturated with these chemicals. Thus, it is better to grow your own organic mustard-greens; also, it is better idea not to eat them grown in a field/pot and you do not know if the soil in the field/pot has had any chemical exposure.

And all these plants - broccoli, lettuce, celery, radish, etc, etc - are growing in a small tiny plot as seen in the picture below